ADE Director's Communication Memo Form

Memo Number : LS-07-066

Date Created : 11/21/2006


Co-op Directors
other: All Principals
LEA Supervisors
EC Coordinators

Type of Memo: Informational
Response Required: Optional
Section:   Learning Services - Dr. Laura Bednar, Assistant Commissioner
Special Ed Programs: Paraprofessional Stipend Program

Regulatory Authority:
20 U.S.C.A. Section 1400 et seq. (IDEA)

Contact Person:
Susan Branon

Phone Number:


In September 2003, the Arkansas Department of Education (ADE), Special Education, was awarded a federal State Improvement Grant (SIG). The focus of the SIGís Goal Three is to support efforts to recruit and retain qualified, fully licensed special education personnel to work in Arkansasí public schools. One objective for this goal is to recruit paraprofessionals working in Arkansas school districts interested in earning an associateís degree with interest in advancement toward earning a special education teaching license.

Southern Arkansas University Tech (SAU-Tech) in Camden has developed a program of study for paraprofessionals interested in pursuing an Associate of Arts in Teaching (AAT).

To assist 25 paraprofessionals in the cost of tuition and books at the SAU-Tech AAT program, the ADE will pay up to $600 per semester, per paraprofessional, currently employed in an Arkansas school district and/or educational cooperative to take necessary coursework. The ADE, through an agreement with SAU-Tech, will pay tuition for 25 paraprofessionals that are awarded this stipend.

If a paraprofessional is interested in pursuing this program, the paraprofessionalís principal and special education supervisor are to recommend the paraprofessional and complete the attached application. Submit it to Susie Branon, 1401 W. Capitol, Suite 450, Little Rock, AR 72201 or faxed to 501-682-4248, no later than December 15, 2006.

Priority will be given to eligible individuals currently employed by school districts and/or educational cooperatives that agree to work in an Arkansas school district at the completion of coursework for a period of time not less than the same length of time tuition was paid through this program. In addition, paraprofessionals that are registered in the ADE paraprofessional registry and have completed at least the Core Training Module will have priority. Students must satisfactorily complete each course.

Classes for SAU-Tech spring semester begin January 17, 2007. Individuals will be responsible for registering for each course to be taken and completing all necessary SAU-Tech enrollment procedures. Awardees must begin courses in January for the Spring Semester.

In order to take coursework, new students must complete an application at SAU-Tech at the following website: For assistance with the SAU-Tech online registration, applicants can contact Lisa Oden, Instructor, or the local special education supervisor. Registration must be completed at SAU-Tech no later than January 17, 2007.


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